Review By Marita Miles
Maze was brought to the stage by the Naughty Corner in collaboration with Dead Puppet Society and presented in the Underground Theatre with the Brisbane Powerhouse. The Naughty Corner collective was founded in 2017 by Jess Bunz, Bianca Bality, Claire McFadyen and Joe Wilson, who all played integral roles in the production of this piece. Their aim of creating a visceral and sensory audience experience was achieved to an extremely high standard.
Maze dragged this ancient story kicking and screaming into the 21st century through modern dialogue and contemporary movement. Writers Bianca Bality and Joe Wilson successfully created well-paced and momentous dialogue, packed with emotion and wit, which told the story beautifully.
This beautifully thought-out piece of theatre was brought to a new level by the five performers. Jeremiah Wray, Sho Eba, Georgia Voice, Claire Argente and Mark McDonald brought huge levels of professionalism, passion, and grit to every role.
Wray, who portrayed a cursed offspring of the gods: The minotaur, Asterion, tackled the piece with immense levels of vulnerability and strength. They created an in-depth character with struggles and fears all humans can relate to. There was a deep exploration of family and humanity which requires a performer to be completely vulnerable to explore this fully. Wray did a fantastic job of this and should be commended for their portrayal.
The work of the other four performers was truly phenomenal. The tunnel sequences were clearly exceptionally well-rehearsed with an emphasis on cleanliness and motivation. A high level of physicality and focus was required from all performers to create something as effective as Maze.
The polish and skill presented during any of the tunnel sequences was mind blowing. There was an incredible level of creativity used in creating these movements to flow and create so much meaning out of minimal set and props. The routines using the light bars was masterfully choreographed to deliver maximum impact and get the audience’s imaginations racing. Whenever the music would start up again and we could feel Asterion about to continue his journey in the tunnels, a sense of excitement and awe was felt in the theatre, as the audience eagerly anticipated the next sequence. A huge congratulations to movement choreographer Liesel Zink for putting this together.
Performance highlights included Georgia Voice’s tender and strong portrayal of Pasiphae and Sho Eba bringing a well-constructed and divided character in Asterion’s human brother.
Maze initially began development through the Dead Puppet Society Academy and the effect that this had on the final product was massively beneficial. The large puppet heads used lended a sense of otherworldliness which coincided with the mythical nature of the original story. This only further developed the blend of ancient and modern which Maze set out to achieve.
Maze was an absolute treat to experience and embodied everything that contemporary Australian theatre should be. Visually astounding and brilliantly executed, Maze got hearts pumping and mind racing. A must-see production and hopefully one that we will see again in the future.